In a statement released on International Holocaust Remembrance Day (Jan. 27), President Donald J. Trump’s administration neither mentioned Jews, the Holocaust’s primary victims, nor condemned anti-Semitism.
The statement sparked controversy, with critics arguing that not mentioning Jews in the statement was offensive and dismissive of the Jewish suffering during the Holocaust. Speaking at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., the same day, U.S. Israeli ambassador Ron Dermer argued that you can’t separate the significance of the Holocaust from Jewish history.
“After the Holocaust took away so much from the Jews, we must not take the Holocaust itself away from the Jews,” Dermer said. “Those victims were murdered not merely because they were different. They were murdered not merely because they were an ‘other.’ They were murdered because they were Jews.”
But White House chief of staff Reince Priebus insisted that the administration was not attempting to do harm with the statement, arguing that Jews weren’t mentioned because “everybody suffered.”
“I mean, everyone’s suffering in the Holocaust, including obviously all of the Jewish people affected,” Priebus told Chuck Todd of NBC News’ “Meet the Press” on Jan. 28.